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Cycling the Banff Legacy Trail in Banff National Park

by K Gordon Schultz
Banff Legacy Trail - Banff National Park

If you are a cyclist and enjoy traveling safely between Banff and Canmore, the Rocky Mountain Legacy Trail or also known as the Banff Legacy Trail in Banff National Park is a dream come true. It was built to commemorate the 125th anniversary of Parks Canada and completed in 2010, but everyone should be sure to thank local bike clubs for their continuous drive and input into making it a reality.

2014 saw the completion of a connector trail linking existing trails in Canmore to the east gates of Banff National Park. Cyclists can now park their cars at the Travel Alberta Information centre and safely ride the 26 kms to Banff. The 3 metre wide, two way trail runs parallel to the Trans-Canada Highway, going through the town of Banff and connecting to the Bow Valley Parkway (1A highway) via Vermillion Lakes.

The Banff Legacy trail has seen its use and ridership grow to over 50,000 recreational users since its opening, with some weekends seeing over a thousand individuals and families enjoying its scenic beauty. With only 30 metres of elevation gain over the entire length of the trail, it can be enjoyed by families with small children. Its paved surface is ideal for roller bladders and roller skiing and it is not unusual to see a few of our hard working Olympic athletes using it for training. There are numerous places to stop along the way, most notably a picnic area (with toilet facilities) at 7 mile hill.

In order to protect wildlife and give riders an uninterrupted ride, Parks Canada has installed state of the art, solar powered electrified mats at 3 pedestrian gate locations on the trail. The mats span the width of the trail and will provide an uncomfortable charge. It is therefore recommended to ride through the mats without stopping. Rubber souled shoes will absorb the mild shock but it is advisable to not let your pets walk across, so use the pedestrian gates.

Depending on your level of fitness and bike skill, you can expect an enjoyable 2 to 3 hours on the trail. Enjoy!

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